“Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King!”
Angels do not sing. No where in the Bible do they sing. Angels do two things: they deliver messages and they kill people. Even the passage in Luke says that it was a “host”, in other words an army.
(The least Biblical picture of angles I could find.)
In fact that was not even the original version of the song.
The original version was written by Charles Wesley, brother of John, in 1739. His opening line was “Hark how all the welkin rings.” Welkin being an archaic term for Heaven. George Whitfield, a contemporary Anglican preacher changed it to the version we know today. Why it couldn’t have been “Hark how all the heaven rings” I don’t know.
This is but one of many errors that creep into our version of the Christmas story. Jesus, being human, cried. The Bible never says there were three nor that they were kings, and they did not see Jesus as a baby. Matthew clearly says it was in a house. No long eared donkeys either.
Our celebration of Christmas is full of mistakes, misunderstandings, and a ton of borrowing from pagan traditions. But here is the important part: it doesn’t really matter. Yes, I think its important to be Biblically literate, if we are wrong in this we can get more important stuff wrong as well, however the presence or absence of three kings in that shed you mistakenly call a manger is not going to affect how you treat other human beings.
That is what matters. That is ultimately all that matters. Christmas should be a reminder to us that God became human. Messy, stinky, crying, tired and hungry human. All human. He lowered himself to be like us in every way do that he might give himself for us so that we might be like him.
If you are going to get anything right about Christmas let it be these: humility, selflessness, and generosity. Those are the real decorations of Christmas.
Who cares what angels do?